The Dermatology Clinic
55 Harley Street
London W1G 8QR

Actinic Keratoses

Concerned that a flaky, sore patch of skin might be actinic keratoses?

Actinic keratoses are areas of sun-damaged skin usually found on sun exposed parts of the body. While usually harmless, it’s best to have actinic keratoses examined by a dermatologist.

The team at The Dermatology Clinic London offer a number of treatments for actinic keratoses. Get in touch today to find out how we can help.

Around 1 in 5 people in the UK have actinic keratoses so it’s very common, but it can be sore and impact your self-confidence. There is a small chance that actinic keratosis can progress to form skin cancer. Find more information below on actinic keratoses and its causes, and the treatments available at The Dermatology Clinic London.

About actinic keratoses (AK)

Actinic keratoses are small areas of thickened skin, often with a scaly surface, that are often pink or red in colour. Sometimes, they can appear raised and resemble crusty outgrowths. They tend to develop after the age of 40 and occur on parts of the body often exposed to sunlight. This includes:

  • Face
  • Scalp
  • Ears
  • Hands
  • Lower legs

You are more likely to be affected by AK if you have fair skin and are prone to sunburn. If you have an AK that rapidly changes in size or appearance or begins to bleed, seek medical advice immediately as it could be progressing towards a type of skin cancer known as squamous cell carcinoma.

Actinic keratoses treatment

With actinic keratoses, there is a small risk of progression to skin cancer so it’s always advisable to get it treated by a qualified dermatologist as soon as possible. Even though they are usually harmless, you might choose to have treatment to improve the appearance of your skin and boost your confidence.

Treatments at The Dermatology Clinic include:

  • Topical creams – We may recommend this treatment if you have a large number of AK.
  • Daylight photodynamic therapy
  • Cryotherapy – you can also have your AK ‘frozen off’ using liquid nitrogen. This is a dry contact and doesn’t take long. The cold temperature used in this treatment can sometimes cause a burning sensation, however this should subside over time as the skin begins to heal.
  • Excision or curettage – this is a surgical procedure used for thicker lesions that wouldn’t be treated by the above methods. It is also used if there is a suspicion that the lesion in question has become a form of skin cancer. We perform this treatment under local anaesthetic, but will only advise it for you if you have thicker, raised patches of AK or suspected skin cancer.

All of these options are highly effective, but the team at The Dermatology Clinic may invite you for further review and treatment, as AK can re-occur on the surrounding skin as a result of previous sun damage.

The process of treating severe acne can be long and requires patience, but rest assured that you are receiving the highest quality of treatment from our professional dermatologists. Once your acne has gone you can enjoy a clearer complexion and renewed self-confidence.